Can one be a mystic in the midst of a life full of distraction and responsibilities? What is specific or unique to Ignatian spirituality? Why did Pope Francis hold up the lesser-known Jesuit Saint Peter Faber as a model for all priests? These are just some of the questions discussed by Brian O’Leary SJ in the interview above with Pat Coyle of Irish Jesuit Communications.
Brian O’Leary is the author of many books on Ignatian Spirituality. Here he speaks with Pat Coyle about his latest work, To love and to serve: Selected essays exploring the Ignatian tradition, published by Messenger Publications.
The book is a compilation of many of the articles or lectures he has offered down the years and now updated, including one on the mysticism of St Ignatius. In this interview, he outlines the structure of the book (four parts) and who it is aimed at (a wide variety of people from Jesuits, ecumenists, and spiritual directors, to those who may not know of Ignatian spirituality but may want to find out more.) The book, he says, need not be read through from start to finish but can be dipped into, depending on one’s interests or needs at any given time.
Brian was a student of the late Joe Veale SJ, a renowned authority on the spirituality of St Ignatius, the founder of the Jesuits. Veale’s book, Manifold gifts, was brought out posthumously in 2006. It too was a collection of varied writings, and Brian says he wants to build on the work done by Joe. He has chosen what he considers to be the best of his work, including a section on Pierre Favre (Peter Faber), the subject of his PhD thesis.